The business community has called on government to ensure reliable access to affordable water and energy to improve the competitiveness of the local industrial sector.
This was raised during last week’s public-private sector dialogue aimed at sharing priorities to be delivered by government in the 2015/16 financial year, and the role the private sector would play, a statement from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development indicates.
The business community, under their umbrella body, Private Sector Federation (PSF), urged the government to always engage them at every level when drafting and enacting policies and regulations that affect business operations. “The government should also build the capacity of trade support institutions and business associations,” they said.
The dialogue is an opportunity to proactively engage the business community and find ways on how to better support them so that they contribute to national growth as envisaged in Vision 2020.
According to Amb Claver Gatete, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, the dialogue identified areas where the private sector requires cross-government co-ordination and facilitation to scale investments in different sectors and to pinpoint new opportunities that could attract more private sector-led investments in line with the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).
“Private sector activities straddle almost all sectors of the economy; what we are trying to find out is what you intend to focus on in the coming fiscal year and how the government can facilitate,” Gatete told the business people.
The government has identified several investment opportunities in various sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, energy, mining, education, export and health, where the private sector would be better suited to take over or partner with Government, the minister added.
Gerard Nkusi Mukubu, the PSF acting chief executive officer, said the private sector had aligned its targets with those of government to deliver EDPRS II objectives.
Mukubu noted that the public-private dialogue has been ongoing and has produced substantive results that have supported the business operations. He added that these dialogues have resulted in the lifting of the ban on right hand drive trucks and removal of VAT and import duty on trucks, as well as scrapping of VAT on mineral exports, among others.
The private sector said it would continue dialogue and review different investment opportunities with government and find out ways to mobilise resources. The two agreed to ensure that the 2015/16 plans and budget reflect strong components that support private sector led investment.